October 2, 2015

Hydrangea Love

When the seasons change, I'm always a little sad about what I need to say goodbye to, but what awaits me often makes up for it. Like autumn and hydrangeas. Yes.

If I were to list my favourite autumn flowers, hydrangeas would be at the top. There are others (Japanese anemones and Turtleheads come to mind) but it's hard not to love those gorgeous billowy flowerheads with their delicate tones of pink and green. I have four types of hydrangeas in my garden: Hydrangea paniculata grandiflora, Hydrangea paniculata 'Unique', oakleaf hydrangea and Hydrangea macrophylla. The two that do best in my garden are Hydrangea paniculata grandiflora (PeeGee) and Hydrangea paniculata 'Unique'. Although the PeeGee blooms are beautiful (they're in the photo at the top), the Unique blooms are my favourite. There's more space between the flowers so you can appreciate their individual, graceful shapes.

Hydrangea paniculata 'Unique' and asters on my painting table
It was still in progress at this point.
I started a painting last autumn of some of the Unique blooms. It was almost finished and then, for some reason, I put it away in my painting drawer. I can't really remember why. I got it out again last week and with fresh hydrangeas from the garden put the finishing touches on the painting. It just needed a little more depth in places and a few more details.

Here's the final result. I tried to convey the frothy softness of the flowerhead while also capturing some of the delicate details. I hope to have it available as a print in the next few weeks.

 A print of this hydrangea painting is available

I need to get out into the garden as much as possible in the days ahead. The nights have been very cold the past few days so things are going to change dramatically. This weekend, I plan to bring the last tomatoes in and cut some herbs for drying. And more hydrangeas!

♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  

Drying tip: I like to dry the hydrangeas and enjoy them throughout the winter months. I read a tip years ago by a favourite gardening writer, Lois Hole, on her preferred way of doing it. She suggested placing the cut hydrangeas in a vase in about an inch of water and letting it evaporate. She said that the flowers retain more colour this way than if they are air-dried. This is the way I always do it now.

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